Experiential Learning has been happening at Puget Sound for a long time. This page highlights some of the current experiential learning projects and courses currently being offered.

Madrid Summers

Madrid Summers is the only Puget Sound exclusive faculty-led, internship-based study abroad program. Its motto “One Awesome Program: Five Amazing Options” underlines the fact that Madrid Summers caters to several different kinds of students all of which come together as the Puget Sound contingent in Madrid for a summer’s worth of hard work, exciting cultural opportunities, challenging internships, intercultural development, and marvelous social life. In this video, Program Director Harry Vélez Quiñones talks about Madrid Summers as an experiential learning program.

REL 307: Prisons, Gender, and Education

Students participate in an experiential learning class that combines academic content and weekly participation in a college program at the Washington Center for Women. Students spend 3 hours per week in study halls as part of the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS) that offers a rigorous college program leading to an Associate of Arts and Science degree for 148 incarcerated women. Weekly class time includes discussion and analysis of topics such as prison pedagogy, the ethical and political dimensions of higher education in prison, the racialized dimensions of mass incarceration, gender, sexuality in the prison, and the history and theory of punishment in the United States.

Reacting to the Past (RTTP)

Reacting to the Past is an active, complex, role-playing simulation that transforms the college classroom into a space for the lively debate of ideas across historical time and geographical place. Students argue, negotiate, scheme, speak, write, and research their way to game success. Reacting to the Past has been implemented in various courses at Puget Sound and is currently being integrated into more of the Puget Sound curriculum.

Learning in Nearby Nature

Informal learning environments are powerful sites for learning because they support rich social interactions and allow people to engage their own learning goals and generate their own highly personalized understandings. Nearby nature sites like parks, green spaces and gardens can support exploration, restoration, and civic action. Students in this course examine learning and teaching in informal learning environments, in particular in nearby nature settings. Students critically examine how their own experiences and beliefs impact their engagement in nearby nature settings and how they view and define "nature." Professor Amy Ryken's paper on the course, "Teaching and Learning in Nearby Nature" has been published.

Study Abroad

International programs offer Puget Sound student the opportunity for international education that fosters an appreciation for cultural diversity.

Faculty-led Study Away - LIASE

Funded by the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment, faculty who specialize in Southeast Asia offer field-school courses involving research and service in Southeast Asian countries.

Master of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT)

The Puget Sound School of Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree for a cohort of 30 full-time students per year. The majority of M.A.T. candidates are placed in Tacoma Public Schools classrooms for two six-week internships in fall and for a 15-week student teaching placement in spring. Learning to teach is grounded in these extensive experiential learning experiences and intentional opportunities to reflect on K-12 student learning, teacher learning, and the dilemmas of the profession.

Learn More About Experiential Learning's Role in Teacher Learning:

Ryken, A. E., & Hamel, F. L. (2016). Looking again at “surface level” reflections: Framing a competence view of early teacher thinking. Teacher Education Quarterly, 43 (4), 31-53.

Ryken, A. E., & Hamel, F. L. (2011). What matters is mutual investment and evidence- based dialogue: Designing meaningful contexts for teacher learning. Northwest Passage: Journal of Educational Practices, 9 (2), 95-103.

We strive to maintain an accurate list, but with so many great experiential learning opportunities on campus, we may have inadvertently missed a few. If you have a project or course that you believe should be included, please submit it to us through the following form:

Submit a Project or Course

Faculty Testimonials

In 2013, Professor Andrew Monaco and a small team of students collaborated to create an economics blog with the goal of bringing original analysis and economic thinking to readers on campus. On Sound Economics, each of our 9 student-contributors produces content on economic topics of their own choosing. More than just weekly writing assignments, the posts encourage students to engage with current events and economic policy debates (Should we abolish the $100 bill?) happening around them. They generate articles, record podcasts, and conduct interviews with classmates, faculty, alumni, and campus visitors. As such, the blog provides students with a virtual space for exploring their intellectual curiosities as a collaborative team. They spark economic conversations across campus (What impact will the Tacoma minimum wage hike have on the University of Puget Sound?) and beyond. Importantly, bloggers develop the skills to effectively synthesize and communicate complex economic ideas to a wide audience, applying their toolkit of economic analysis beyond the classroom.